A group of masked gunmen who stormed the headquarters of TC Television in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and took several journalists and employees hostage, have been arrested by security forces. The incident occurred on Tuesday, amid a wave of violence and prison riots that prompted President Daniel Noboa to declare a national state of emergency and an internal armed conflict.
The assailants interrupted a live broadcast of a news program, brandishing pistols and explosives, and threatened to detonate them if their demands were not met. They claimed to belong to one of the 22 gangs that Noboa designated as terrorist organizations in his decree.
However, the police and the military quickly surrounded the TV station building and launched a rescue operation. According to national police chief Cesar Augusto Zapata Correa, 13 suspects were detained and all hostages were freed. He also said that security forces seized weapons, explosives and other evidence from the scene. No casualties were reported.
The motive of the attack is still under investigation, but it is believed to be linked to the escape of a notorious gang leader from prison on Monday, which sparked a series of attacks and abductions across the country. Noboa has vowed to restore order and security, and has authorized the military to “neutralize” the criminal groups within the bounds of international humanitarian law.